Bittersweet Beginnings

Beginnings are difficult.

There is anticipation – excitement and expectation, yet this combines awkwardly with ambivalence – apprehension about stepping into the unknown, a place of potential discomfort.

When I started this painting, I experienced this cocktail of emotions, shaken and stirred! Somehow, to proceed with the creative process I needed to embrace this bittersweet experience. I needed to hold lightly to the impetus for the new work – the image with its keynote of feeling and all it encapsulates for me – and take a risk by putting brush to canvas without a fixed or preconceived idea of how the painting would evolve. I was not simply following a recipe for success, rather I was actively navigating an intuitive, responsive process, where the outcome may surprise, delight or disappoint me.

Surely you have begun a new job, project or relationship with a similar mix of feelings? Did part of you wish you had stayed within the comfort of a tested set of instructions, with rules governing the outcome?

So why do we continue to risk bitter disappointment and discomfort to set out on a new beginning, if the cosy same-old, same-old, is so sweet?

As an artist, I do it to grow, to learn, to discover truths about myself and the world, and to create paintings that mysteriously seem to transcend the capacity I have within my safe zone. It is to taste exciting and surprisingly rich flavours that are only possible by daring to begin.

Time will tell for this painting.